France 2 Romania 1 – Payet late firecracker lands victory for hosts
Dimitri Payet produced a magical goal to clinch win for a nervy France on Friday night
June 10th, 2016
France have made a winning start to the European Championships, with Les Bleus leaving it late to claim three points against a stubborn Romania who created enough chances to win the game themselves.
Bogdan Stancu was particularly culpable, with his early shot being kept out by Hugo Lloris and the forward shot wide in the second half after finding space in the penalty area.
However, Stancu did manage to score from the penalty spot after Patrice Evra was adjudged to have fouled Stanciu. This happened a few minutes after Olivier Giroud had given France the lead with a powerful header.
Indeed, after a laboured first-half which did see Antoine Griezmann head on to the post and then have a shot deflected narrowly wide, Dimitri Payet whipped in a cross and Giroud rose above the Romanian keeper to nod into an empty net.
The Stade de France rose in unison to celebrate the opening goal, although Romania were soon on level terms and it might have been even worse for the hosts as the underdogs threatened to turn the game on its head.
Didier Deschamps tried to change things by introducing Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman, although it was Payet who struck a wonderful shot at the death which flew into the top corner to give France an opening victory.
It was a jittery performance from Les Bleus at times, especially at the back where Evra had a game to forget and Adil Rami illustrated that the team would have benefitted from not losing Raphael Varane.
However, N’Golo Kante slotted in wonderfully as the defensive midfielder, with Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi also busy in the middle of the pitch. Ultimately, it was Payet who stole the show.